Losing weight over the phone

An intensive lifestyle intervention, proven to help people lose weight to prevent diabetes, also works in primary care when delivered over the telephone to obese patients with metabolic syndrome. Group telephone sessions appear to be particularly effective for greater weight loss, according to a new study by Drs. Paula Trief and Ruth Weinstock from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, and colleagues. Their work¹ appears online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine², published by Springer.

Metabolic syndrome affects a third of US adults and is associated with increased morbidity and premature death, from cardiovascular disease in particular. People with metabolic syndrome suffer from central obesity, high , and abnormal . Lifestyle changes – such as those tested in the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) – that lead to weight loss can prevent or slow the development of diabetes. For a greater impact on public health, it is key to find ways to apply the principles of the DPP lifestyle change program in primary care provider practices, for example, which are ideal settings for weight loss interventions. In addition, telephone interventions are attractive as they can reach a large number of patients, at a time and in a place that best suits them.

Weinstock and Trief's team compared the effectiveness of two primary care provider telephone adaptations of DPP in their Support, Health Information, Nutrition and Exercise (SHINE) study. A total of 257 obese patients with metabolic syndrome, but not diabetes, were recruited from five practices in New York. They were randomly assigned to one of two groups – they received either individual calls or participated in conference calls with up to eight patients per call, for a period of two years. The authors measured changes in weight after 6, 12 and 24 months of calls.

The researchers found that participants in both groups lost weight after one and two years. The individual and conference call versions of the were equally effective after a year; however, after two years, conference call participants had lost more weight and continued to lose weight compared to those receiving individual calls who began to regain. The conference call educators were trained to promote discussion among the group and group members shared weight loss strategies within a supportive environment.

The authors conclude: "SHINE, a real-world, widely deployable, telephone adaptation of the DPP intensive lifestyle program, delivered by primary care provider staff, was effective in achieving weight loss at one and two years, in obese people with . These individuals are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and are important targets for weight loss. The SHINE model holds promise to stimulate lifestyle change and weight loss in primary care settings."

More information: Weinstock RS et al. (2013). Weight Loss Success in Metabolic Syndrome by Telephone Interventions: Results from the SHINE Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine. DOI 10.1007/s11606-013-2529-7

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Baseline factors impact lifestyle intervention success

Feb 07, 2013

(HealthDay)—Certain baseline characteristics better predict successful weight loss with the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) lifestyle intervention, according to a study published in the January issue ...

Patients like commercial programs for weight loss

May 31, 2013

(HealthDay)—Patients view being overweight in a nonmedical context, and the use of commercial providers to manage weight loss mirrors this perspective, according to research published in the May/June issue ...

Recommended for you

When you lose weight, where does the fat go?

Dec 16, 2014

Despite a worldwide obsession with diets and fitness regimes, many health professionals cannot correctly answer the question of where body fat goes when people lose weight, a UNSW Australia study shows.

Shed post-Christmas pounds just by breathing

Dec 16, 2014

Ever wondered where the fat goes when somebody loses weight? Most of it is breathed out as carbon dioxide, making the lungs the primary excretory organ for weight loss, explain Australian researchers in the ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.